View Full Version : Birmingham aviation ltd early 70's
23rd Jul 2011, 00:39
Just turned 8pm here in Tampa Bay Florida, I came accross this site and was happy to find so many memories. My name is Michael Gray and I once worked at Birmingham Aviation, infact I did my first Solo in G-AVVE on my 16th Birthday.
Well let me list a few names, from Birmingham Aviation during my time there, you may recall them:
JOHN BASSETT: Part Owner.
COLIN SHEATH: Other Part Owner.
DON SWAN: Chief Flying instructor.
BOB BRADLEY: Flying Instructor.
PETER GRACE: Flying Instructor.
TREVOR GOODY: Asisstant Flying Instructor.
JOHN FARLEY: Pilot/ATC.
MARTIN BEVAN: Student.
KEVIN LYNCH: Student.
NIGEL PUGH: Student.
IAN ROOKER: Student.
SCOTT MCLEAN: Student.
DAVE MORGAN: Pilot.
JOHN KITSON: Pilot/Owner Of American Airspeed Inc,.
STAN HALES: Pilot/Owner Of Anglo African Machines (G-BCDI)
ERIC BOTT: Aviation Mechanic.
SIR WILLIAM DUGDALE: We Looked After His Aircraft.
MICHAEL GRAY: Me.
GEORGE WATKINS: Student.
GERRY BUZBY: Flying Instructor.
RALPH HITCHCOCK: Hung Around.
MIKE NEWELL: Student.
KEITH..........: Executive Air/GKN.
TOMY THOMPSON: Pilot/Britania Airways.
Just to name a few, I am sure when I log off some more will come to mind, please e-mail me at mgray@<hidden> if you remember me, 1974 was a long time ago.
26th Jul 2011, 11:08
Although I don't remember you personally, as a fellow first soloer on G-AVVE we have a little in common!
In 1970, when I did mine, the aircraft was operated by the Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth flying group at Coventry. Subsequently, I obtained my instructor rating and instructed on the aircraft for quite a few hours for the group before I parted company with them. The aircraft parted company with them a little later as they eventually bought a brand new C152.
As you say, Birmingham Aviation started in about 1974 or 5 and many of the names in your list are very familiar, I know that I had much fun using their simulator and doing some worthwhile instruction on it. I also flew G-AVVE again "for old times sake". As a member of the organisation, I was entitled to an apron pass with G-AVVE on it which I found tremendously useful in the days before security became as tight as it is today.
Before they went bust to be replaced by Birmingham Aviation, the main flying training organisation at EGBB was Executive Air who operated three Beagle pup 150s. Bill Norreys was CFI and his deputy was Pat Long. They eventually moved to Coventry operating a couple of PA 28s
26th Jul 2011, 13:35
The mention of Bill Norreys brought back memories. He was one of the people who enthused me about flying back in the late 50s/early 60s when he was (I think) B Flt Cdr at Syerston on Piston Provosts.
He often said that the most notable thing he achieved was blocking the Scunthorpe/Lincoln (or was it Brigg/Lincoln?) main road with a Lancaster one early morning.................
Does anyone have any information about him? Should he still be with us, he will by now be well into his nineties.
28th Jul 2011, 14:25
There was a thread running not so long back about the Warwickshire Aero Club at BHX (think I got the name right!) where some of the names you mentioned cropped up.
I completed my PPL at Executive Air BHX in 1982. Martin Bevan and Kevin Lynch had formed Bevan lynch Aviation and were both Instructors at Birmingham Aviation which they run.
Shortly afterwards, there was a "parting" of the ways between them and Martin Bevan took over Executive Air and renamed it Birmingham Aerocentre. Kevin Lynch continued to run Birmingham Aviation.
There was a Ralph who ran the office at Birmingham Aviation and followed Martin Bevan to Birmingham Aerocentre who was discussed in the previous thread and I understand still works at BHX in the Executive Terminal
Apologies if I got any information wrong, but this is how I recall it through my alcohol soaked brain cells.
31st Jul 2011, 13:54
Hi Michael. Why did you leave Birmingham Aviation? Did JB have one of his tantrums with you?
Keith ? of GKN was Keith Tremelling.
Mods - this thread would be better merged with the Midland Aero Club one.
11th Aug 2011, 21:46
Hiya mike, I remember you at - Birmingham aviation you were always walking around the airport in a blue blazer talking to everybody under the sun, - what exactly did you do at BHX. Aviation. ?? Old Don Swan did most of the Instructing, Along with " Trubshaw " Grace. & Colin Sheath, did you ever go solo - Or get your PPL. What are you doing in Florida ? last I spoke to you you were planning to go to the states to get your Commercial Licence
12th Aug 2011, 17:32
Will continue this under Midland Aero Club
9th Jan 2012, 12:51
I used to hold the fort for Executive Air at weekends taking the money, making the bookings, fuelling the Beagle Pups G-AXCX, XNP and XHO. I used too get paid in flying lessons which was a great deal when you're 16. At the end of a lesson Bill would ask ATC if he could do a low-level circuit and final landing and would take the controls to complete a circuit within the airfield boundary reaching only about 300' downwind. It was more fun than any Alton Towers ride. I followed Bill to Coventry—Fletcher Rentals—and went first solo there on my 17th birthday. He validated my hours some years later when I decided to complete my PPL but I haven't heard of him since.
Pat Long (of Exec Air) who was badly affected with arthritis I think and could hardly walk showed me aerobatics in the pup and was the best instructor I ever had. He also ran the White Lion pub in Hampton in Arden but has long since passed on.
Really happy days!
18th Jan 2012, 16:17
I did my PPL in the autumn of 71, with Pat Long and Bill Norreys, both really nice blokes and great instructors. I remember Pat had a liking for aerobatics and so a number of our general handling trips ended with him saying "I have" on off we'd go for few minutes, great memories.
I have some photos of the pup's taken back then, parked outside the hangars, if I can find a way to attach them to this thread, I will.
19th Jan 2012, 15:50
I have just noticed, that am not allowed attachments, so if you want some pics up the pups taken outside the hangars in Autumn 1971, PM me and I will email them to you.
4th Feb 2012, 15:11
I did a flying scholarship in Aug '71 with Exec Air on the 3 Pups 'HO, 'CX and 'NP. My instructors were the incomparable Pat Long, a lovely man who taught me a lot, and Bill Norreys, who also imparted wisdom but it's fair to say we never got along. Those 3 weeks at Elmdon were the start of a very fulfilling career and I saw Pat from time to time in the years that followed.
A few years ago I was flying out of Elmdon and visited Pat's old pub in Hampton in Arden, it certainly brought back memories!